Specific Heat Problems

What they are and how to solve them

Definition of Specific Heat Capacity

The amount of energy necessary to raise the temperature of 1g (gram) of a substance 1°C (celsius).

Formula: ɋ=mcΔT

What do I plug in and where?

The formula for specific heat problems is ɋ=mcΔT

In order to solve for our answer, we have to plug the numbers in to the formula. In order to plug in the numbers, we need to know where they go.

The "ɋ" in the formula is where the heat goes. The heat is in joules ( J ). If the heat is being absorbed it is positive. If the heat is being released it is negative.

The "m" in the formula is for the mass. The mass is typically given in grams ( g ) but sometimes you will have a problem in kg. In this case you'll have to convert kg to g.

The "c" in the formula is where the specific heat capacity goes. The specific heat capacity is given to you in J/g °C.

The "ΔT" in the formula is the change in temperature. You are usually expected to calculate this on your own. It should always be in °C.

Here is a video to help you understand better if you need it.